Lovecraft Country: Holy Ghost
Original air date: August 30th, 2020
This was my favorite episode. I have a feeling I might be saying that again, but this episode was amazing and there are a couple things that I think will be important to the rest of the season. This episode takes on the haunted house genre and manages to give us some creepy moments, some over the top moments, and one truly remarkable moment.
One plot device that shows and movies use that I absolutely abhor is when someone says something like, “My house is haunted.” Every other character ignores them or thinks they are crazy. A person the other characters have previously respected and usually listen to is just brushed aside and not given the benefit of the doubt. I’m not just talking about stories where the supernatural is a novel idea, but even in the supernatural realm. For example– at least one episode in every Star Trek Series, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Wynonna Earp… I could keep going on.
In this episode, Leti told Tic that her house was haunted, and he said, “Walk me through it.” He didn’t dismiss her, tell her it was because they suffered a trauma; he didn’t doubt (or if he did, he didn’t let it show). He let her explain, and she was validated and heard. And guess what? It still was an exciting story! It was such a great scene and I’m so happy it happened. Can writers agree that the, “not believing one of the main characters” plot device is played out?
Another part I loved was Leti seeking assistance, but saving the day herself. Tic was there but he wasn’t the one to save the day. Props to Jurnee Smollett for her portrayal of Leti. She is an outstanding character. She is strong without being callous or devoid of emotions. Smollett shows her vulnerability, her fear, and how that transfers to courage and anger—watching it is mesmerizing.
Now, I’m super excited because I have a theory and it is a doozy. It all centers around one, little moment. I missed it when I first watched, and my friend pointed it out, changing everything. Towards the latter part of the episode, Hippolyta is grilling Montrose about George’s death. Creepy music starts playing and something flutters by the window, and the people outside don’t even respond. What was it?
Now it could just be a bird, but then why the creepy music? So, if it means something, then it is something supernatural. This is Lovecraft Country, as in H.P. Lovecraft, so I went through my mental category of Lovecraft monsters—first I thought flying polyps. It would tie into an alien aspect of the show, and they mention Tic, Dee and Jackie Robinson swinging their bats so much, I’m getting a strong Signs vibe.
Then my friend mentioned Brown Jenkin and Ding! Ding! Ding! We have a winner. Brown Jenkin is a human face rat-like creature first appearing in LoveCraft’s The Dreams in the Witch-house. Brown Jenkin is an interdimensional traveling, shape-shifting familiar of Keziah Mason. Keziah is a witch that has mastered traveling through different dimensions. Also, the glowing ruin-like carving between the basement and sub-basement seem very reminiscent of Keziah. Now, she serves Nyarlathotep. He is an Outer God, but one that frequents earth. He also loves having his own cults—I think he is the “Adam” the Order of the Ancient Dawn are (were) worshipping.
Here’s why I suspect it is him—Dracula. Bram Stoker’s Dracula keeps being referenced and I must believe there is a reason. Nyarlathotep is known by many names, notably: The Black Man, the Crawling Mist, Father of All Bats. Sounds kind of like Dracula, doesn’t he? Also, it makes me wonder if Tic is more the image of Adam than the whitewashed Order of the Ancient Ones knows. The language of Adam could be an alien language Keziah mastered to travel through dimensions, which is what Samuel Braithwhite was trying to do.
So could Leti’s house be the Witch House? Or could it tie-in to another Lovecraft story, The Unnamable. Winthorp house (off topic but anyone else singing Winthrop Manor from Bob’s Burgers?) is the name of the house in Jean-Paul Ouellett’s movie adaptation. The original short story doesn’t name it as such, and the stories are loosely related, but both center around a super creepy house and a demon-like creature.
The real-estate agent that sold Leti the house works for Christina Braithwhite, so we are not done learning the secrets this house hides. We know the three neighbors were disposed of by the house. This leads me to the over-the-top moment. Now I don’t shy from blood, but the headless, squirting corpse did seem a little too much. Maybe I was still in shock over the goat (RIP poor goat). So three neighbors, plus the eight missing prior equals eleven. There were a lot more than eleven bodies in the sub-basement: where did that tunnel lead? I hope deep into the earth and possibly to Cthulhu!
The ghost Leti defeats was, in life, Hiram Epstein, an astrophysicist at an unnamed university (Miskatonic?), who was into some weird experimentation. His story reminds me of another scientist—Herbert West (aka the Reanimator). Side note: also, a hilarious 80’s movie, with little to do with Lovecraft’s story. Epstein was part of the Order and a follower Hortio Winthrop. He wanted to decipher the language of Adam with the stolen pages from the Book or Names. How far did he get? And will these pages be at the end of the tunnel in the sub-basement? Will Christina work with Tic or will they be competing?
Finally, two things: Winthrop’s soul managed to transcend death; it makes me wonder if another Son of Adam could do the same? Is Samuel Braithwhite as gone as we think?
Last thought– Hippolyta walked through Leti’s house and didn’t think to ask, “Hey what’s up with all the weird stuff?” Or is it normal to have a room dedicated to a shiny, gold solar system replica?